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Women, Violence, and the Media

Readings in Feminist Criminology

Drew Humphries

Publication Year: 2009

Through the lens of feminist criminology, this volume examines the complex interrelationship of women, violence, and media presentations. The book is divided into three sections. The first, "Gendering Constructions," lays the groundwork for the volume by examining the print media's presentation of gendered violence, female killers on Law and Order, African American women in Hollywood films, and women in media, crime, and violence textbooks. The second section, "Debating the Issues," explores aspects of femicide, including mass murder incidents, domestic violence in Bangladesh, and wartime sexual violence in reality and on television. The final section "Changing the Image," focuses on efforts to replace masculine assumptions with constructive approaches to imagining women.

Designed for course adoption, Women, Violence, and the Media emphasizes the key themes and critical skills required for media literacy, and the volume offers guidelines for readers on conducting their own research.

Published by: Northeastern University Press

Series: Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law

Front Cover

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pp. 1-5


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

Two goals guided the development of Women, Violence, and the Media. One was to develop a collection that would help readers to think more clearly about women’s experiences of violence; the other was to organize it so that readers would begin at step one and progress by degrees toward a reflective, critical approach to media representations. ...

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pp. xv-xvi

I would like to express my gratitude to Susan Caringella for her support at every stage in the preparation of this volume. From the articles we edited for Violence Against Women (February 1998) to the discussions we have had about this project, Susan’s intellectual and moral support has kept this project on track. ...

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Introduction. Toward a Framework for Integrating Women, Violence, and the Media

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pp. 1-18

This collection is concerned with questions that arise at the junction of women, violence, and the media. What does it mean to be a woman? How do we begin to think about violence? And what do women’s experiences with violence look like through the lens of the media? ...

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Part I: Gendered Constructions: Women and Violence

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pp. 19-28

Part I introduces readers to gendered constructions of violence. “Gendered” refers quite specifically to masculine assumptions used by the media to characterize women’s experiences with violence. The constructions in question are discernible in daily news reports, television dramas, films, and textbooks, ...

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Chapter 1. Words that Wound: Print Media's Presentation of Gendered Violence

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pp. 29-56

News stories about female victims, offenders, and criminal justice professionals permeate our culture and shape our perceptions of them. When reporters dissect criminal incidents, they rely on well-worn clichés and stereotypes associated with men and women and work these gendered assumptions into news accounts about victims and offenders. ...

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Chapter 2. Constructing Murderers: Female Killers of Law and Order

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pp. 57-74

Law and Order is an award-winning drama organized around the investigation and prosecution of homicide cases in New York City. Its engaging formula has made the series a significant presence in NBC’s lineup of evening shows for nearly two decades. ...

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Chapter 3. Screening Stereotypes: African American Women in Hollywood Films

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pp. 75-98

In his study of white Hollywood and African American culture, Krin Gabbard observes: “At least since 1904, when the filmed version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a great financial success . . . the best place to find out how things get constructed in American culture is a movie house” (2004, p. 8). ...

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Chapter 4. What About Women? The Representation of Women in Media, Crime, and Violence Textbooks

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pp. 99-116

Police once ignored domestic violence, refusing to answer calls for service that entailed altercations between intimates. Domestic violence is now, however, regarded as a public health problem of sufficient magnitude to justify federal legislation (see Tjaden & Thoennes, 2004, p. 4). ...

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Part II: Debating the Issues: Femicide and Sexual Terrorism

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pp. 117-123

Femicide is a term that refers to the killing of women by men because they are women. It came into the study of violence against women by way of the Ms. Magazine article “Femicide: Speaking the Unspeakable” by Caputi and Russell (1990; see also Caputi & Russell, 1992). ...

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Chapter 5. Does Gender Make a Difference? The Influence of Female Victimization on Media Coverage of Mass Murder Incidents

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pp. 124-140

Mass murder has immense appeal to the news media, which exploit many of its newsworthy features—randomness, extreme violence, multiple victims, and unlikely offenders—for public consumption. It might be argued that the violent content of news simply reflects the concerns, values, and interests of the intended audience (Zimring & Hawkins, 1997). ...

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Chapter 6. Rapist Freed, Victim Punished: Newspaper Accounts of Violence against Women in Bangladesh

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pp. 141-155

Media representations are an important subfield in criminology, but rarely have Western social scientists considered the ways in which non- Western media socially construct violence against women. In an effort to remedy this deficiency, we focus on Bangladesh and on Southeast Asian perspectives on women, violence, and the media. ...

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Chapter 7. Media Images of Wartime Sexual Violence: Ethnic Cleansing in Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia

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pp. 156-174

Conflicts involving ethnic cleansing, such as those that occurred in the former Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1996, in Rwanda in 1994, and more recently in Sudan’s Darfur region, have all involved the systematic rape and sexual mutilation of females. As a weapon of war, sexual violence devastates local victims ...

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Chapter 8. The Haunting of Jane Tennison: Investigating Violence against Women in Prime Suspect

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pp. 175-196

Prime Suspect is a popular series of made-for-TV films that feature the exploits of Jane Tennison, a fictional detective with the London Metropolitan Police. These award-winning films air in the United States on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The series is something of an anomaly in contemporary television programming. ...

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Part III: Changing the Image: Feminist Critics and Criticism

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pp. 197-205

Standpoint theory begins from the premise that female subordination yields understandings of reality that are fundamentally different from those of men and that the premise holds up when multiple forms of female subordination and male domination are considered (Collins, 2004; Harding, 2006; Wood, 2005). ...

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Chapter 9. Victims and Sources: Newspaper Reports of Mass Murder in Domestic Contexts

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pp. 206-223

Although reporters strive for objectivity and, in their view, render a version of reality that is not far removed from “what really happened,” a sizable body of research attests to distortion in the news about crime. Criminologists explain that media distortions are in part due to the reporters’ heavy reliance on a single official source, the police. ...

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Chapter 10. Running Out of Oxygen: Is "Television for Women" Suffocating Women?

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pp. 224-239

The social sciences have long wondered whether reality reflects television or whether television reflects reality (Baehr, 1980). That it is difficult to sort out the relationship tells us how ingrained television is in the structure of modern society and leads us, as feminist critics, to place the question of reflection at the center of our work. ...

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Chapter 11. Making Sense of a Female Malady: Fear of Crime, Hysteria, and Women Watching Crimewatch UK

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pp. 240-255

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the British media became absorbed in debates about the damaging effects of television in producing fear of crime. Although in a broad sense the problem was initially envisaged as a condition detrimental to society as a whole, as it progressed it became increasingly evident that women were being positioned ...

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Chapter 12. Victim Blaming Through High-Profile Crimes: An Analysis of Unintended Consequences

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pp. 256-268

For many scholars interested in cultural studies, the high-profile crime cases of the last several decades provide a striking source of information. Some have concentrated on how “popular trials” affect our awareness of rape, domestic violence, or police brutality; others have analyzed trial transcripts to get at dominant cultural constructs ...

Selected Readings

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pp. 269-274

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pp. 275-280

Madelaine Adelman is an associate professor in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University in Tempe. Her ethnographic research centers on the politics of domestic violence and the contested relationship between national identity and religion. ...

Back Cover

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p. 298-298

E-ISBN-13: 9781555537180
E-ISBN-10: 1555537189
Print-ISBN-13: 9781555537029

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law